Greater Atlanta Christian enters a new-look Region 5 after winning Region 7-AAA titles from 2016-2019 and 6-AA titles in 2014 and 2015.
Since taking over as head coach in 2012, Tim Hardy has led the Spartans to the playoffs each season, including semifinal exits in 2012, 2015, 2017 and last season. Hardy led GAC to state championship game appearances in 2014 and 2016.
GAC joins defending state champion Cedar Grove, Westminster, former Class AAAA power Sandy Creek and Salem, in Region 5. Hardy discussed the move during a telephone interview:
Q. Your new region looks tough. Tell me about it.
A. Region 5-AAA is stacked top-to-bottom with great teams. It's going to be a fun ride. It really is. It's going to be week-in, week-out competitive football, and we are excited about it. We're looking forward to that. And (we have) great respect for coaches in programs that we are going to be competing with. Looking forward to the challenge can be fun.
Q. What do you see in the new mid-state Region 2-AAA, with Peach County, Crisp County, Central-Macon and former Class AAAA programs Upson-Lee and Americus-Sumter?
A. I think those regions (2-AAA and 5-AAA) have a large portion of the AAA football powers in the state, so I think it's possible to see 4-seeds, 3-seeds, 2-seeds not just advance but go deep into the playoffs. So, yeah, it'll be interesting. You go through that kind of regular-season competition and you are prepared for tight games, playoff football, the small margins that you need to win. So it's going to be good.
Q. Coronavirus. How has GAC weathered it?
A. Obviously everything has been different. Every football coach in state of Georgia wishes we were doing spring practice right now. But given the circumstances, that's a smaller part of the bigger picture. Our guys are truly in school, however. We offer regular classes with Zoom meetings, so our guys are in regular class throughout the day. So at GAC the education has continued on at a really high level. And part of that includes weight-training class, and obviously, guys don't have access to weights. But our strength coaches have done an outstanding job leading them through things to provide some of those opportunities. Hopefully people are working hard and trying to stay in shape, and we're optimistic that we get back at some point this summer and get rolling.